How Retailers Can Use Right Time Marketing to Keep Up with Today’s Consumers

Retail Marketing

With consumers more connected than ever, retailers must constantly shift strategies to keep up with consumer’s ever changing needs and preferences. Mobile seems to be the holy grail of marketing this year, social is more imperative than ever, and multi-channel and omni-channel strategies are expected of every retailer who wants to keep up with today’s consumers.

Just as notable, where real-time and instantaneous messaging were once considered to be the answer to every marketing situation, retailers must now strive to take personalization a step further and implement strategies to market to a consumer at the RIGHT time with the right message and through the right channels – which is the concept behind Right Time Marketing. So while you may not have a crystal ball to always determine the best strategy for each customer and prospect that interacts with your brand, the right blend of marketing data, technology and analytical solutions can get you close to just the right answers.

What is Right Time Marketing?

Right Time Marketing is about identifying the right audience (those who are in-market and most likely to convert) and using marketing data and technology processes to drive optimally timed contact for the best ROI. Right Time Marketing begins with a foundation of rich customer data, both internal first party data sets and combining it with 3rd party data assets, including demographics, firmographics, real-time data, digital data and in-market purchase signals for finely tuned audience identification.

By matching a consumer’s offline and online identities, marketers can then track both offline and online consumer behaviors indicating purchase intent to be able to deploy targeted messages across channels at just the right time.

Retailers can deploy targeted messages across channels by matching offline and online identities.

Target the Right Person

To maximize ROI, marketers must pinpoint and target consumers who are most apt to convert. The right message sent through the right channel but to an undefined audience will only waste acquisition dollars. Many brands continue to rely solely on first-party data and superficially modeled prospect lists when deploying acquisition campaigns. The concept of Right Time Marketing takes this a step further to combine first-party data with rich third-party enhancement, behavioral data, and in-market purchase intent.

retail marketing 2016

First-Party Data

Internal data includes anything sitting in a data warehouse, CRM system, or other sources and records that contain customer information. Examples of internal data include customer service records, transactional data, credit card purchases, or contact information provider by the customer.

Third-Party Data

Third-party is external data available for purchase by data providers who source and aggregate the data into applicable sets that can be applied to your first party databases. This data is integral to deploying targeted marketing campaigns, because it provides hundreds of detail elements that no consumer would fill out in a single form. With only a few first-party data elements, third-party data sets can be appended to correct and fill in missing elements such as email addresses, phone numbers, lifestyles, demographics, purchase indicators and more to strengthen your customer insights.

In-Market Purchase Signals

Today’s always-on and connected consumer leaves a digital footprint indicating in-market purchase signals. The more marketers understand purchase intent, the more targeted and personalized messaging can become. Common ways intent may be aggregated include social purchase signaling (i.e. consumers posting on Facebook that they are looking for a recommendation for a service repair shop or other product or service), mobile intent data (i.e. identifying a consumer’s mobile ID and tying it to PII and location data), trigger events (new moves, upcoming weddings, or the birth of a new child all indicate a likeliness to purchase certain products or services). A third party vendor can aggregate these purchase signals and append to customer records in real-time for deeper audience and messaging insights).

Target at the Right Time and Through the Right Channels with Journey Based Campaign Management

Today, the relationship customers build with an organization is far from linear. They research and connect with your business many times, across different devices and touchpoints. A customer journey tells the story of these interactions with your brand, starting with the initial contact and continuing through all subsequent interactions and touch-points. A marketer must understand each of these various points at which customers engage with a brand, identify the stages of greatest potential, and ensure that every customer receives the right messages at the right time via the right channel.

Right Time Marketing

Using a marketing automation platform to create automated customer journeys that engages consumers uniquely at every stage, based on each individual’s behavior, ensures that the most optimal messaging is sent through the channels in which your customers and prospects are interacting with you. For example, campaigns can be created that recognize if customers have visited your website, browsed certain product categories, opened your emails or visited your stores. By delivering automated, relevant content at the right time you can ensure these consumers keep moving through the journey to increase conversion rates and lifetime value.

Example of Customer Journey Map

customer journey map

Market at the Right Time Through Multiple Channels

The very nature of always-on and digital channels provides a unique way to engage with consumers at just the right time. Retailers can engage consumers with personalized and targeted messaging through a variety of digital outreach methods.

Mobile Marketing

The rise in consumer mobile usage means retailers must also step up their mobile game. Consumers use their mobile devices to find local stores, track sales, and research and buy products. Using location-based marketing, retailers can now serve ads, coupons and discounted offers based on a consumer’s searches when they’re within three miles of a store location. A recent study forecasts the location-based services market will reach $43.3 billion in revenue by 2019, rising from an estimated $12.2 billion in 2014.

mobile marketing

Click-and-Collect Services

More retailers are offering click-and-collect services that allow shoppers to buy merchandise online and pick it up at a local retail branch or service station. This gives consumers the option to pick up their purchases when and where they choose. Many consumers would rather forgo the shipping costs and wait time and instead pick up their items at a time and place that’s convenient for them. Although buy online, pick up in store is still in its infancy for many retailers, consumers are taking advantage of the service. According to a recent study by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 32% of shoppers used click and collect during the holiday season, and nearly 69% of them purchased additional items in that store when they went to pick up their order.

A multitude of other channels also lend themselves to a “Right Time Marketing” approach. Retailers must think beyond traditional engagement strategies and look for opportunities when the moment presents itself. For example, social media, email marketing, and digital advertising can be used to engage consumers when and where they choose. A triggered email or serving of a digital ad based on a specific consumer behavior is much more likely to solicit better engagement than a message sent without the proper insight into a consumer’s preference or intent.

In today’s age of the knowledge-driven consumer, retailers must be committed to truly knowing and understanding their customers. By integrating the right data across multiple channels to understand a consumer’s behaviors in the moment, companies can find smarter ways to meet increasing customer expectations. When targeted to the right person, through the right channel, and at the right moment, every customer interaction is an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty, reduce churn, and boost revenues.

Download our free marketing solutions guide for retailers and learn how to adapt and implement strategies to meet today’s evolving consumer demands.